My kids have picked a ton of fruit over at Eckert’s pick your own farm in Belleville. Here’s a few tips to keep you from making the same rookie mistakes we’ve made. 1) Fruit is sold by the pound. Apples are heavy. If you don’t want to end up with 50 dollars worth of fruit, try to slow the kids down by picking only the perfect specimens. 2) Feel free to sample. Really, they don’t mind. Sampling fruit in the orchard also keeps the kids from putting every single apple or peach in the bag. 3) Make them carry their own bag. This might keep them from trying to take the whole tree home. 4) Wear a hat and sunblock. Fruit trees are surprisingly short and don’t provide much shade. It’s sunny out there–be prepared! 5) Bring a water bottle. This goes with #4. We once got lost in the orchard and it took a while to find the wagon. Water would have been nice. 6) Watch out for toys. When you’re done picking you’ll exit the orchard area through the garden shop. Which has a toy department. You’ve been warned. 7) Come during the week. Weekends get pretty crowded, if you can swing a weekday visit you’ll get the orchard practically to yourself. We like to pick apples on school half days! 8) Weekends have more activities. If you don’t mind a crowd, check Eckert’s schedule for family fun weekends. During apple season they’ll have carnival rides. 9) Stop for an ice cream. Or lunch. Eckert’s is only “20 minutes” from St. Louis. But that means a 30 or 40 minute drive for a lot of St. Louis County moms. Make the most of your trip by planning to have ice cream or lunch. 10) Pick up dinner. Eckert’s Belleville location has a nearly full service grocery store. After a hot and sweaty day in the fields you can bring home a fried chicken dinner or some meat for the grill. And pie. Don’t forget the pie!